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Digital Performer: Waveform Editor Tools

MOTU Digital Performer Tips & Techniques By Mike Levine
Published April 2022

Screen 1: The Layers menu gives you access to specific tools for performing particular tasks.Screen 1: The Layers menu gives you access to specific tools for performing particular tasks.

We explore the many tools available in DP’s Waveform Editor.

Recently, we’ve been focusing on the new features introduced in DP11. But one of the highlights of the earlier DP10 release was the complete redesign of the Waveform Editor. It’s got a spiffy new look, and more importantly, a streamlined workflow and more editing options. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the important changes and additions, and at the various types of editing available.

First, though, why would you want to use the Waveform Editor, when the Sequence Editor has many of the same features? The answer is that it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you wanted to pitch‑correct a vocal track in a mix or automate Bite Volume on a track, you’re probably better off doing it in the Sequence Editor where it’s in context with other tracks.

The Waveform Editor, on the other hand, lets you work on audio that may not be placed in a track yet. For example, you may want to make loops for the Clips window from an instrument or vocal recording, or extract individual samples. You could also transpose your sample in the Pitch Layer and specify loop behaviour in the Loops layer. You can easily do these sorts of things in the Waveform Editor, where edits apply to all instances of the Soundbite throughout the project. It also provides better focus and more precision than track editing.

Tab Fab

In earlier versions of DP, the Waveform Editor featured different Modes that you could switch between by selecting from a row of tabs. You could choose between Soundbites, Loops, Beats, Tempos, Pitch and Volume. Under each tab was a pull‑down menu, which contained actions available for that Mode. It was easy enough to find what you were looking for, but with all those tabs and pull‑downs, it took up a lot of real estate in the top part of the window.

In DP10, MOTU rearranged the architecture of the Waveform Editor, changing the Modes to Layers. Now, you can access them from a single pull‑down called the Edit Layer at the bottom of the screen (Screen 1). When you select a Layer, DP automatically changes the actions available in the Edit Layer menu, which is another pull‑down just to its right. DP switches to the appropriate tools automatically when you choose a Layer. 

MOTU also changed the functionality and names of some of what were formerly Modes and now are Layers, and added some powerful new capabilities.

The Audio Layer replaces the Waveform Mode of earlier versions of DP. It’s the layer where you can select and destructively edit the actual audio waveform of a Soundbite. You can choose sections to edit or the entire Soundbite and, using the commands in the Edit Layer menu, choose to Normalize the audio, add a fade in or out, or apply plug‑ins.

If you need to repair a click or pop, zoom down to the sample level using the horizontal zoom controls at the bottom right, or DP’s...

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